What is Medium High Heat?

You've Read a Recipe That Calls for Medium High Heat... But, What Does this Actually Mean?

Acacia Crossley
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Trying to improvise your cooking is never an easy task, especially if you are still trying to come to grips with the various culinary keywords that no one seems ever to explain but everyone else seems to know.

Every recipe that requires cooking on the stove will include some indication as to the kind of heat you need to set the stove to, the most common heat being medium high. But what does this actually mean? 

A medium high heat is the heat setting somewhere between the middle and highest setting on your stove. When a recipe says to set your pan to medium high heat, all you need to do is turn the knob of your stove to one of the points between the medium and high settings. 


The 4 Main Levels Of Heat

Many modern stoves come with far more heat settings than you really need when cooking on your stovetop. Unless you are following a particularly intricate recipe for a delicate dish, you only need to know about the 4 main levels of heat for your stove.

  • High Heat – As the name would suggest, when a recipe instructs a high heat, it means turn your stove to the highest setting. Some people think that a high heat will mean less cooking time but that is not the case, you are very likely to end up burning your meal.

    So, reserve high heat for getting sauces and water to boiling point. 
  • Medium High Heat – The most commonly used heat setting in cooking, medium high heat is set somewhere between the high and medium heat setting on your stove.

    You can use a medium high heat to get a beautiful sear on meats or vegetables without burning them. Or to cook sweet treats that require a crispy exterior. 
  • Medium Heat – A medium heat is the perfect temperature for cooking eggs, rice, and any ingredient that would be a little too sensitive to high heat.

    You will still be able to get a crispy texture at medium heat if you cook your meal for a little bit longer, but you won’t have to worry about ruining the more delicate interior of your ingredients. 
  • Low Heat – The low heat is the lowest, coolest heat setting on your stove. This is the setting you would use when simmering liquids to reduce their volume or when wanting to slow-cook a meal.

    Be warned that just because it is the coolest heat setting does not mean that the low heat is cold. It is still hot enough to burn if you touch the pan. 

Some recipes may require you to switch between these different heat levels depending on the heat required for each stage of cooking.

But do not fret, this is just a simple task of turning the knob and waiting for your pan to cool down or warm up. 


How Hot Is Medium High Heat? 

Recipes and dishes that require the stove will specify a medium high heat without giving you a specific temperature to go by. Still, it is always good to know the kind of heat that you are working with so that you can understand how food reacts to different temperatures. 

It is an industry standard that a medium high heat on the stove is set between 190C and 232C. 

There will be 1 – 3 settings that may count as medium high heat on your stove depending on how many settings is on the settings knob itself, but all that can be classed as medium high heat, falling between the standard temperatures.

Stovetop Knobs

The higher you turn the knob, the hotter the medium high heat will be. 

The chances are that if the recipe you are following requires a medium high heat then you will not need to worry about the specific temperature of that heat as the recipe writer would have already taken that into consideration.

However, you may come across a recipe that needs you to use the oven itself at a medium high heat. In this case, you now know to set your oven to around 200C. 

What Is Low And High Medium High Heat On A Stove? 

The terms low or high medium high heats sounds like one too many heating instructions and can easily cause confusion if you are still getting used to understanding the different functions of heat on a stovetop.

So let’s break it down! 

You already know that medium high heat is the stove setting between medium and high. However, there is quite a lot of variation in heat within the realms of medium high heat – typically 42C, to be exact. 

A low medium high heat would require you to set your stove to the lowest section of the medium high setting. On the other hand, a high medium high heat would require you to set your stove to the highest section within the space of a medium high temperature. 

It is worth mentioning that recipes that get so particular as to pinpoint the specific medium high heat to use are doing so for a reason.

If you do come across a recipe that includes such instructions, don’t ignore them. 

Medium High Heat FAQs

Do you have further questions about the different heat levels on the stove? Then these FAQs will be useful:

What Number is Medium High Heat?

If your stovetop has numbers 1 to 6, then a medium high heat will be a 4 or a 5. If your stovetop has numbers 1 to 9, then a medium high heat will be 7.

What is Medium High Heat in the Oven?

A medium high heat in the oven is around 200C, 180C fan, 390F or gas mark 6.

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